March 9, 2021 – Morehouse College, the alma mater of Martin Luther King Jr., Spike Lee, and Senator Raphael Warnock, has announced that it will lead its higher education courses into a new frontier this spring as its students will be offered two classes held in virtual reality (VR).
“Providing an immersive classroom experience for our students during this pandemic is important and Morehouse College is pleased to lead the way,” said Dr. Kendrick Brown, Provost of Morehouse College.
The classes are more than virtual lessons simply held over a video conferencing app such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, and are instead fully immersive VR experiences. With a donation from Qualcomm Technologies, students at Morehouse College will be given an Oculus Quest 2, powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Platform, which will allow them to access the fully immersive, digitized version of the Morehouse campus and select classes.
Just like a real campus, the VR campus will allow students to attend class together in real time. Unlike a real campus, students on the VR campus will have the ability to benefit from the utility and unique digital experiences that VR is able to offer.
“We believe that immersive education through VR is a transformative way to learn,” said Brian Vogelsang, Senior Director of Product Management at Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “It’s great to see Qualcomm XR Enterprise Program partner, VictoryXR, continue to help scale VR education, especially with an acclaimed college like Morehouse.”
The first two classes to be taught on the digital twin VR campus will be Biology 105 focusing on men’s health, taught by Dr. Ethell Vereen and History 112 focusing on world history and taught by Dr. Ovell Hamilton.
“Standing together with students and learning about deadly serious health issues with a human reproductive system in the classroom will take learning to a new level. We are very excited to pioneer learning in VR,” said Dr. Vereen.
“Higher ed must not be afraid to take remote learning to a more immersive and effective level,” added Dr. Hamilton.“With this virtual reality campus, students will be able to travel back in time and stand on a naval carrier or travel to places across the globe.”
While Morehouse College provides the students, faculty, and curriculum, the digital campus and learning objects are provided by VictoryXR. Steve Grubbs, the company CEO, commented: “This partnership gives the rest of the academic world a glimpse into the future of education. These classes will be surprisingly close to those imagined in the book, Ready Player One.”
We attended a virtual tour of the Morehouse College VR campus last week, and the resulting experience was thoroughly impressive. With traditional learning methods suffering as a result of the pandemic, we can really see how virtual campuses such as the one that has been created by VictoryXR will help to boost student engagement in lessons and assist with learning through immersion in a virtual world.
The lesson examples we were shown included a biology lesson where attendees were able to expand a human heart and step inside it; a history lesson where we were able to walk the battlefield, as well as hover above it in order to get an engaging and memorable first person and top-down view of Napoleon’s conquest against Russia; and a science class where we were able to witness atoms whizzing around us, as well as view the planets in our solar system to scale and from a first person perspective.
It is certain that VR is going to play an extremely important role in the future of education, and the VR classes that students at Morehouse will now be able to benefit from really will set the bar for how VR can be effectively utilized in a real-world use case.
Image credit: Morehouse College / Qualcomm / VictoryXR